CBD Oil for Autism?
Today, we know of some 480 health beneficiary components in Cannabis, and their new medical potential is constantly reaffirmed. This was also the case when in 2017 researchers at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem while searching for the ways to treat epilepsy with CBD oil. They discovered that many of their little patients who apart from epilepsy suffered from autism, experienced improvement after receiving treatment with CBD. It helped them both in their overall condition and especially regarding elimination of side effects of antipsychotic drugs they were administered beforehand.
Cannabis has been used for treating epilepsy by the ancient civilizations of the Middle East for thousands of years it remained part of the tradition. It was a therapy of choice for the mysterious illness which asked for the equally mysterious cure.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” this wisdom left to us by Hippocrates father of Medicine teaches us to stop looking for the cures but instead, to start living consciously and healthier, to include natural cures in our daily life.
Today, we know of some 480 health beneficiary components in Cannabis and their new medical potential is discovered constantly.
Endocannabinoid System deficiency and Autism
This was also the case when in 2017 researchers at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem while searching for the ways to treat epilepsy with CBD oil. They discovered that many of their little patients who apart from epilepsy suffered from autism, experienced improvement after receiving treatment with CBD. It helped them both in their overall condition and especially regarding elimination of side effects of antipsychotic drugs they were administered beforehand.
Some four years earlier, in 2013 a study was published by Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder indicating that autistic children display significant immune system alternation, manifested particularly in the Endocannabinoid system.
A study done by Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine in 2010 indicated that children with weak metabolizing of antipyretics may be at higher risk from Autism Spectrum Disorder. It has been proposed that the blockage of fever with medication could elevate the possibility of disease by interfering with natural defense mechanism of the body. Activation of CB1 receptors, in addition to providing an analgesic effect, causes a decrease in body temperature which could be another indication of Endocannabinoid system disruption in children with autism.
Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is complex network of receptors and transmitters, which works in parallel to our Nervous and Immune System, regulating feeding, response to diseases, stress reaction, energy levels and storage, cognition and memory, but also relaxation and sleep.
It is common to all chordates and consists of three components: Endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by our body), Cannabinoid receptors – namely CB1, and CB2 and regulatory enzymes.
CBD Treatment studies
CBD oil has been a therapy for people dealing with seizures for years now. However, recent findings indicate that people with autism can have an abundance of cannabinoid receptors on their white blood cells to make up for a lack of endocannabinoid production. The findings suggest that autism is directly tied to the ECS.
Above mentioned study underscored that scientists have observed disruption in normal functioning of CB2 cannabinoid receptors in autistic children. It was manifested by increased level of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear cells or PBMC, same as increased levels of protein in them. It stressed that Endocannabinoid system in general, and its CB2 receptor in particular, should be the focal point of the pharmacological management of the autism.
Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 have much larger density than any other form of cell membrane receptors in our body. CB1 receptor – responsive to THC active compound in Cannabis, is predominantly found in the brain, and Central Nervous System.
It is particularly concentrated in areas that have to do with mediating pain, limbic system controlling the motion, and reward pathways. CB2 receptor that is responsive to CBD compound is also found in brain but even more in organs connected to protective function like Spleen, Tonsils, and also in digestive track. CB2 receptors act like parallel immune system and stay relatively inactive in healthy state, but when times get rough, that changes.
For example in brain injury, blood vessels constrict which in effect starves the brain and one of the function of the Endocannabinoid system is to send impulse that promote dilatation of blood vessels to bring back the system to balance. Therefore ECS acts as a kind of homeostatic regulator of overall physiology of our body, and in this respect extremely relevant for treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Visible improvements after CBD treatment
With visible improvements of children’s condition (less repetitive actions, seizures and tics) the pressure to the medical team Shaare Zedek Medical Center to switch their attention to the potential of CBD oils in treatment of autism symptoms mounted.
Especially after number of the 120 children and young adults, who were administered Cannabis oil started talking after years of silence.
The effects of CBD oil were tested for the first time in a 2017 study on 53 children and young adults in Israel, ranging in ages from 4-22, over the 66 days. After obtaining special licenses for the use of CBD from the Israeli Ministry of Health, parents were instructed on how to administer the oral drops. After some two months of treatment, the medial improvement on ASD was 74%.
Children have become more aware and responsive to surroundings and improved their motor abilities, but also their behavioral improvements elevated dramatically the quality of life for their families.
Families whose members are struck with more severe ASD are in desperate need to have a relief from its acute symptoms that often manifest in repetitive behavior, but also aggression, anxiety, sleep disorder, or self injury.
Separate study published by National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2016 indicated the decreased levels of endonacannabinoids in autistic children may have direct connection to their social function impairment.
Endocannabinoids – the cannabinoids produced by our own body have been discovered back in 1992 by academic Raphael Mechoulam. This fatty acid neurotransmitter was named Anandamide, or the Bliss compound, because as it acts as mood enhancer. Although it doesn’t have the same structure as THC it acts in the very same way. Anandamide plays important role in sleeping and feeding regulation, motivation and pleasure sensation, and binds mostly to the CB1 receptor.
The 2016 study underscored that due to the fact that endocannabinoid signaling has direct connection to the Autism Spectrum Disorder and may have to do with their impairment. Test conducted on mice indicated improvement in their social behavior with increased Anandamide levels in their system.
How to start and what to expect of the CBD Treatment
The effect CBD treatment has on children with Autism is variable, especially regarding the seizure treatment, as some kids are fortunate to react after a first dose while other take more time to respond. We are talking weeks and months. If the child dislikes it CBD oils could be mixed in olive or coconut oil, or food and taken this way.
The quantity of CBD for addressing the seizure can vary between.5mg per pound of body weight daily, separated into 2 or 3 doses, up to 50 mg.
General advice is to start with low doses and then gradually increase until the retraction in symptoms is reached. Then stick to the chosen type of CBD and dosage, to start dealing with the problem itself.